In a comment to the previous Fox entry, a friend suggested (then reconsidered) that perhaps the altered appearance of Jacques Steinberg could be due in part to an aspect ratio problem. To test this theory I used Photoshop myself to correct the aspect ratio of the Fox image to match the "Actual photo." For both images I measured the dimensions of a rectangle extending from the outer edges of Steinberg's ears in the x dimension, and from the top of his hair to the bottom of his top row of teeth in the y dimension (I was looking for reasonably clear edges). In the actual photo, that box measures 146 x 170 pixels. In the Fox photo, the box measures 146 x 176 pixels. Note that the width is equal — perhaps whoever prepared the comparison composite scaled the actual photo to match the Fox photo, or vice versa.
I then scaled the Fox photo in the y dimension by (170/176) = 96.59% to equalize the aspect ratio, and overlaid a transparent copy onto the actual photo:
As you can see, even with the same aspect ratio, the chin, nose, and ears look larger. After thinking about it some more, I decided that since the ears had been enlarged, it made more sense to match the features in the collar, which was relatively undistorted. Using that method, we have this result:
Notice that the collar and suit in the overlaid version now match perfectly. And to really see what's going on, enjoy this animated gif (the Fox photo is lightened to match the overall brightness of the actual photo):
This makes it clear that a portion of the hair has been duplicated to lower the hairline, too.
Hany Farid, a computer scientist at Dartmouth who specializes in detecting image tampering, mentions this incident on his website:
July 2008: In response to a New York Times story that suggested the FOX network’s ratings might be slipping, the co-hosts of “Fox & Friends” broadcasted photos of Times reporter Jacques Steinberg and editor Steven Reddicliffe. The photos were doctored to make the journalist appear less attractive. A FOX spokeswoman said the executive in charge of “Fox and Friends” is on vacation and not available for comment but added that altering photos for humorous effect is a common practice on cable news stations.
Putting somebody's face on a poodle (which Fox also did) is altering a photo for humorous effect. But Jacques Steinberg's and Steven Reddicliffe's altered pictures were not intended to be immediately recognizable as such. As evidence, consider that my reasonable, intelligent, technically-expert friend gave serious consideration to the possibility that the altered state of the image was the result of broadcast artifacts. In the Fox segment, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade don't laugh at these images or indicate that there is anything out of the ordinary. It is only when they come to the poodle photo that they chuckle:
What the Fox News organization did is, in my opinion, beneath contempt. They owe Steinberg, Reddicliffe, and their viewers an apology.Posted by cradle at August 8, 2008 8:46 PM